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Some Home Ownership Out of Reach as COVID-19 Shrinks Savings

The COVID-19 pandemic has many families focused primarily on immediate financial concerns, paying bills and everyday expenses. (Adobe Stock)
The COVID-19 pandemic has many families focused primarily on immediate financial concerns, paying bills and everyday expenses. (Adobe Stock)
July 29, 2020

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A new survey finds nearly one in 10 Americans has moved in with other people, and three in 10 have delayed attempting to purchase a home during the pandemic. It also says just half of Americans feel secure in their current housing situation.

Susan Ifill, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the group NeighborWorks America, which released the survey, said Black Americans are more likely to face financial challenges that delay home buying.

"Home ownership of Blacks has dropped to 40%; it was 48% just last year. It has remained stubbornly below 50, and continues to get lower."

In 2018, the home ownership rate among Arkansans was 66%. Some 77% of homeowners in the state are white, compared with 43% of Black Arkansans and 50% of Hispanic residents, according to data from the Arkansas Community Foundation.

More than half of survey participants who are renters said their financial situation -- including carrying too much debt -- makes home ownership seem unrealistic. Ifill said COVID-19 has prompted many families to focus on covering more immediate needs.

"We're finding in the survey that people who may have indeed been saving for home ownership are now just paying everyday expenses," she said. "That's their number-one goal."

According to the ACLU, Arkansas is one of just a handful of states that has chosen not to place a moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 crisis.

The survey is online at neighborworks.org, ACF data is at aspirearkansas.org, and Arkansas ACLU information is at acluarkansas.org.

Nadia Ramlagan, Public News Service - AR